Paddy Chayefsky Critical Essays


Paddy Chayefsky 1923–1981

(Born Sidney Chayefsky) American playwright, scriptwriter, and novelist.

Chayefsky was a pioneer in utilizing the immediacy of the television medium to dramatize the undramatic in life. His characters are average, unexceptional people who find something special through love. Marty perhaps best illustrates Chayefsky's ability to bring out the poignancy in the lives of ordinary people.

Some of Chayefsky's later screenplays, such as Network, are more cynical. His central characters are persons of wealth and power who deal with society through their positions and influence rather than through love. But in Altered States, a sophisticated horror story, Chayefsky returned to the theme of love as the salvation of humankind.

Throughout his career, critics praised Chayefsky's close attention to detail and dialogue which enhanced the realism of his stories.

(See also Contemporary Authors, Vols. 9-12, rev. ed., Vol. 104 [obituary]; Dictionary of Literary Biography, Vol. 7; and Dictionary of Literary Biography Yearbook: 1981.)